Elon Musk on Saturday challenged the Twitter CEO to a “public debate” over how the social media company counts fake accounts and spam bots.
Musk laid down the gauntlet in a series of tweets responding to comments about his countersuit against San Francisco-based Twitter over its attempt to walk away from the $44 billion deal to buy the company.
“If Twitter simply provides its method of sampling 100 accounts and how they are confirmed to be real, the deal should continue under the original terms,” wrote musk, the CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. “However, if their filings with the SEC turn out to be materially false, that should not be the case.”
“I hereby challenge @paraga to a public debate on the percentage of Twitter bots”, Musk continued, using the Twitter account of the company’s CEO, Parag Agrawal. “Let him prove to the public that Twitter has <5% fake or spam daily users!"
Musk, 51, struck a deal in June to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share, a steep premium to the stock price of about $38 at the time. In July, he said he was backing out of the deal because Twitter had failed or refused to provide information about fake or spam accounts on the platform.
Twitter sued days later, demanding that the courts force the deal to pass. He then won the first battle in court, securing an expedited trial date for October after the world’s richest man tried to push the case back until next year.
Musk filed a countersuit in late July, the details of which were revealed on Thursday. In the lawsuit, he claimed Twitter withheld necessary information and misled his team about its true user count.
Twitter called the accusations “incredible and contrary to fact” in its response.
Agrawal has not posted a response to Musk’s challenge.